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Ferrari, Ludovico

1. Dates
Born: Bologna, 2 Feb. 1522
Died: Italy, Oct. 1565
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 43
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
Ferrari's grandfather was a refugee in Bologna from Milan. This is all that is said of the father. Ferrari was orphaned at the age of fourteen. He had not received any formal education. Without any possessions or resources he went to Milan. Can this possibly mean anything other than poverty?
3. Nationality
Birth: Italian
Career: Italian
Death: Italian
4. Education
Schooling: Bologna, Ph.D.
Having received no formal education, he was sent to Milan where he joined the household of Girolamo Cardano in 1536. Cardano introduced him to Latin, Greek, and Mathematics.
Years later, in 1564, he returned to Bologna where he earned a doctorate in philosophy. All things considered, I think this had to have been an earned degree. I assume a B.A. or it equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics
Subordinate: Geography, Astronomy
He collaborated with Cardano in researches on the cubic and quartic equations, the results of which were published in the Ars magna (1545). He found a method of solving the quartic equation.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Schoolmastering, Patronage
Secondary: Academia
1536-40, member of Cardano's household as his amanuensis, disciple, and ultimately collaborator.
In 1540, he was appointed by Ferrante Gonzaga, the governor or Milan, public lecturer in mathematics in Milan. In this capacity he gave, inter alia, lessons on the Geography of Ptolemy.
Ferrari was then (c. 1548-56) in the service of Ercole Gonzaga, Cardinal of Mantua, for some eight years.
Later, he carried out a survey of Milan for the governor of the province. Gherardi's article makes it clear that this was essentially a cartographic survey.
From 1564 until his death in 1565, he was lecturer in mathematics at the University of Bologna.
8. Patronage
Types: Scientist, Eccesiastic Official, Government Official
Ferrari lived with Cardano beginning in 1536. Cardano introduced him to mathematics and employed him as amanuensis.
He was in the service of Ercole Gonzaga, Cardinal of Mantua, for eight years, and to the cardinal he dedicated the cartelli in the mathematical contest with Tartaglia.
At the request of the cardinal's brother, Ferrante, then governor of Milan, he carried out a survey of that province.
He received an offer from Emperor Charles V, who wanted a tutor for his son.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Architecture, Cartography
I am accepting the single word in Gherardi that Ferrari was, inter alia, an architect.
On cartography see above.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Friendship and collaboration with Cardano.
Feud with Niccolo Tartaglia, which was caused by the publication of the Ars magna in 1545.
  1. Arnaldo Masotti, ed., Cartelli di sfida matematica (between L. Ferrari and N. Tartaglia), (Brescia, 1974). P. Riccardi, Biblioteca matematica italiana, 1, 450.
  2. G. Fantuzzi, Notizie degli scittori bolognesi, (Bologna, 1781- 94), 3, 320-2. and 9, 99-106. G. Tiraboschi, Storia della letteratura italiana, (Firenze, 1809), 7.2, 522-3. S. Gherardi, "Lettera del Prof. S. Gherardi . . . sopra . . . L.
  3. Ferrari," Nuovi annali delle scienze naturali . . . di Bologna, ser. III, 1 (1850), 213-24.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. "Vita Ludovici Ferrarii Bononiensis", in Giolamo Cardano's Opera omnia, (Lyons, 1663), 9, 568-569. Q155 .C266.
  2. J.H.Morley, life of Girolamo Cardano of Milan, Physician, (London, 1854), 1, 148, 187.
  3. Arnaldo Masotti, "Sui cartelli di mathematica disfida scambiati fra Lodovico Ferrari e Niccolo Tartaglia, Rendiconti dell'Istituto lombardo di scienze e letter, 94 (1960), pp.31- 41.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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